Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms.
ABSTRACT: New high-resolution U-Pb dates indicate a duration of 89?±?38?kyr for the Permian hiatus and of 14?±?57?kyr for the overlying Triassic microbial limestone in shallow water settings of the Nanpanjiang Basin, South China. The age and duration of the hiatus coincides with the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) and the extinction interval in the Meishan Global Stratotype Section and Point, and strongly supports a glacio-eustatic regression, which best explains the genesis of the worldwide hiatus straddling the PTB in shallow water records. In adjacent deep marine troughs, rates of sediment accumulation display a six-fold decrease across the PTB compatible with a dryer and cooler climate as indicated by terrestrial plants. Our model of the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction (PTBME) hinges on the synchronicity of the hiatus with the onset of the Siberian Traps volcanism. This early eruptive phase released sulfur-rich volatiles into the stratosphere, thus simultaneously eliciting a short-lived ice age responsible for the global regression and a brief but intense acidification. Abrupt cooling, shrunk habitats on shelves and acidification may all have synergistically triggered the PTBME. Subsequently, the build-up of volcanic CO2 induced a transient cool climate whose early phase saw the deposition of the microbial limestone.
Project description:Lithium (Li) isotope analyses of sedimentary rocks from the Meishan section in South China reveal extremely light seawater Li isotopic signatures at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB), which coincide with the most severe mass extinction in the history of animal life. Using a dynamic seawater lithium box model, we show that the light seawater Li isotopic signatures can be best explained by a significant influx of riverine [Li] with light ?7Li to the ocean realm. The seawater Li isotope excursion started ?300 Ky before and persisted up to the main extinction event, which is consistent with the eruption time of the Siberian Traps. The eruption of the Siberian Traps exposed an enormous amount of fresh basalt and triggered CO2 release, rapid global warming, and acid rains, which in turn led to a rapid enhancement of continental weathering. The enhanced continental weathering delivered excessive nutrients to the oceans that could lead to marine eutrophication, anoxia, acidification, and ecological perturbation, ultimately resulting in the end-Permian mass extinction.
Project description:The largest mass extinction of biota in the Earth's history occurred during the Permian-Triassic transition and included two extinctions, one each at the latest Permian (first phase) and earliest Triassic (second phase). High seawater temperature in the surface water accompanied by euxinic deep-intermediate water, intrusion of the euxinic water to the surface water, a decrease in pH, and hypercapnia have been proposed as direct causes of the marine crisis. For the first-phase extinction, we here add a causal mechanism beginning from massive soil and rock erosion and leading to algal blooms, release of toxic components, asphyxiation, and oxygen-depleted nearshore bottom water that created environmental stress for nearshore marine animals. For the second-phase extinction, we show that a soil and rock erosion/algal bloom event did not occur, but culmination of anoxia-euxinia in intermediate waters did occur, spanning the second-phase extinction. We investigated sedimentary organic molecules, and the results indicated a peak of a massive soil erosion proxy followed by peaks of marine productivity proxy. Anoxic proxies of surface sediments and water occurred in the shallow nearshore sea at the eastern and western margins of the Paleotethys at the first-phase extinction horizon, but not at the second-phase extinction horizon. Our reconstruction of ocean redox structure at low latitudes indicates that a gradual increase in temperature spanning the two extinctions could have induced a gradual change from a well-mixed oxic to a stratified euxinic ocean beginning immediately prior to the first-phase extinction, followed by culmination of anoxia in nearshore surface waters and of anoxia and euxinia in the shallow-intermediate waters at the second-phase extinction over a period of approximately one million years or more. Enhanced global warming, ocean acidification, and hypercapnia could have caused the second-phase extinction approximately 60 kyr after the first-phase extinction. The causes of the first-phase extinction were not only those environmental stresses but also environmental stresses caused by the soil and rock erosion/algal bloom event.
Project description:The end-Permian mass extinction horizon is marked by an abrupt shift in style of carbonate sedimentation and a negative excursion in the carbon isotope (delta(13)C) composition of carbonate minerals. Several extinction scenarios consistent with these observations have been put forward. Secular variation in the calcium isotope (delta(44/40)Ca) composition of marine sediments provides a tool for distinguishing among these possibilities and thereby constraining the causes of mass extinction. Here we report delta(44/40)Ca across the Permian-Triassic boundary from marine limestone in south China. The delta(44/40)Ca exhibits a transient negative excursion of approximately 0.3 per thousand over a few hundred thousand years or less, which we interpret to reflect a change in the global delta(44/40)Ca composition of seawater. CO(2)-driven ocean acidification best explains the coincidence of the delta(44/40)Ca excursion with negative excursions in the delta(13)C of carbonates and organic matter and the preferential extinction of heavily calcified marine animals. Calcium isotope constraints on carbon cycle calculations suggest that the average delta(13)C of CO(2) released was heavier than -28 per thousand and more likely near -15 per thousand; these values indicate a source containing substantial amounts of mantle- or carbonate-derived carbon. Collectively, the results point toward Siberian Trap volcanism as the trigger of mass extinction.
Project description:The current model for the end-Permian terrestrial ecosystem crisis holds that systematic loss exhibited by an abrupt turnover from the Daptocephalus to the Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone (AZ; Karoo Basin, South Africa) is time equivalent with the marine Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB). The marine event began at 251.941?±?0.037?Ma, with the PTB placed at 251.902?±?0.024?Ma (2?). Radio-isotopic dates over this interval in the Karoo Basin were limited to one high resolution ash-fall deposit in the upper Daptocephalus AZ (253.48?±?0.15 (2?) Ma) with no similar age constraints for the overlying biozone. Here, we present the first U-Pb CA-ID-TIMS zircon age (252.24?±?0.11 (2?) Ma) from a pristine ash-fall deposit in the Karoo Lystrosaurus AZ. This date confirms that the lower exposures of the Lystrosaurus AZ are of latest Permian age and that the purported turnover in the basin preceded the end-Permian marine event by over 300 ka, thus refuting the previously used stratigraphic marker for terrestrial end-Permian extinction.
Project description:The most severe mass extinction among animals took place in the latest Permian (ca. 252 million years ago). Due to scarce and impoverished fossil floras from the earliest Triassic, the common perception has been that land plants likewise suffered a mass extinction, but doubts remained. Here we use global occurrence data of both plant macro- and microfossils to analyse plant biodiversity development across the Permian-Triassic boundary. We show that the plant fossil record is strongly biased and that evidence for a mass extinction among plants in the latest Permian is not robust. The taxonomic diversities of gymnosperm macrofossils and of the pollen produced by this group are particularly incongruent. Our results indicate that gymnosperm macrofossils are considerably undersampled for the Early Triassic, which creates the impression of increased gymnosperm extinction in the latest Permian.
Project description:Delayed Earth system recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction is often attributed to severe ocean anoxia. However, the extent and duration of Early Triassic anoxia remains poorly constrained. Here we use paired records of uranium concentrations ([U]) and (238)U/(235)U isotopic compositions (?(238)U) of Upper Permian-Upper Triassic marine limestones from China and Turkey to quantify variations in global seafloor redox conditions. We observe abrupt decreases in [U] and ?(238)U across the end-Permian extinction horizon, from ?3 ppm and -0.15‰ to ?0.3 ppm and -0.77‰, followed by a gradual return to preextinction values over the subsequent 5 million years. These trends imply a factor of 100 increase in the extent of seafloor anoxia and suggest the presence of a shallow oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that inhibited the recovery of benthic animal diversity and marine ecosystem function. We hypothesize that in the Early Triassic oceans-characterized by prolonged shallow anoxia that may have impinged onto continental shelves-global biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystem structure became more sensitive to variation in the position of the OMZ. Under this hypothesis, the Middle Triassic decline in bottom water anoxia, stabilization of biogeochemical cycles, and diversification of marine animals together reflect the development of a deeper and less extensive OMZ, which regulated Earth system recovery following the end-Permian catastrophe.
Project description:Wrinkle structures in rocks younger than the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction have been reported repeatedly in marine strata, but rarely mentioned in rocks recording land. Here, three newly studied terrestrial P-Tr boundary rock succession in North China have yielded diverse wrinkle structures. All of these wrinkles are preserved in barely bioturbated shore-shallow lacustrine siliciclastic deposits of the Liujiagou Formation. Conversely, both the lacustrine siliciclastic deposits of the underlying Sunjiagou Formation and the overlying Heshanggou Formation show rich bioturbation, but no wrinkle structures or other microbial-related structures. The occurrence of terrestrial wrinkle structures in the studied sections reflects abnormal hydrochemical and physical environments, presumably associated with the extinction of terrestrial organisms. Only very rare trace fossils occurred in the aftermath of the P-Tr extinction, but most of them were preserved together with the microbial mats. This suggests that microbial mats acted as potential oases for the surviving aquatic animals, as a source of food and oxygen. The new finds suggests that extreme environmental stresses were prevalent both in the sea and on land through most of the Early Triassic.
Project description:The end-Permian mass extinction constituted the most devastating biotic crisis of the Phanerozoic. Its aftermath was characterized by harsh marine conditions incorporating volcanically induced oceanic warming, widespread anoxia and acidification. Bio-productivity accordingly experienced marked fluctuations. In particular, low palaeolatitude hard substrate communities from shallow seas fringing Western Pangaea and the Tethyan Realm were extremely impoverished, being dominated by monogeneric colonies of filter-feeding microconchid tubeworms. Here we present the first equivalent field data for Boreal hard substrate assemblages from the earliest Triassic (Induan) of East Greenland. This region bordered a discrete bio-realm situated at mid-high palaeolatitude (>30°N). Nevertheless, hard substrate biotas were compositionally identical to those from elsewhere, with microconchids encrusting Claraia bivalves and algal buildups on the sea floor. Biostratigraphical correlation further shows that Boreal microconchids underwent progressive tube modification and unique taxic diversification concordant with changing habitats over time. We interpret this as a post-extinction recovery and adaptive radiation sequence that mirrored coeval subequatorial faunas, and thus confirms hard substrate ecosystem depletion as a hallmark of the earliest Triassic interval globally.
Project description:The amniote clade Parareptilia is notable in that members of the clade exhibited a wide array of morphologies, were successful in a variety of ecological niches and survived the end-Permian mass extinction. In order to better understand how mass extinction events can affect clades that survive them, we investigate both the species richness and morphological diversity (disparity) of parareptiles over the course of their history. Furthermore, we examine our observations in the context of other metazoan clades, in order to identify post-extinction survivorship patterns that are present in the clade. The results of our study indicate that there was an early increase in parareptilian disparity, which then fluctuated over the course of the Permian, before it eventually declined sharply towards the end of the Permian and into the Triassic, corresponding with the end-Permian mass extinction event. Interestingly, this is a different trend to what is observed regarding parareptile richness, that shows an almost continuous increase until its overall peak at the end of the Late Permian. Moreover, richness did not experience the same sharp drop at the end of the Permian, reaching a plateau until the Anisian, before dropping sharply and remaining low, with the clade going extinct at the end of the Triassic. This observed pattern is likely to be due to the fact that, despite the extinction of several morphologically distinct parareptile clades, the procolophonoids, one of the largest parareptilian clades, were diversifying across the Permian-Triassic boundary. With the clade's low levels of disparity and eventually declining species richness, this pattern most resembles a 'dead clade walking' pattern.
Project description:Exceptionally well-preserved organic remains of thecamoebians (testate amoebae) were preserved in marine sediments that straddle the greatest extinction event in the Phanerozoic: the Permian-Triassic Boundary. Outcrops from the Late Permian Zewan Formation and the Early Triassic Khunamuh Formation are represented by a complete sedimentary sequence at the Guryul Ravine Section in Kashmir, India, which is an archetypal Permian-Triassic boundary sequence. Previous biostratigraphic analysis provides chronological control for the section, and a perspective of faunal turnover in the brachiopods, ammonoids, bivalves, conodonts, gastropods and foraminifera. Thecamoebians were concentrated from bulk sediments using palynological procedures, which isolated the organic constituents of preserved thecamoebian tests. The recovered individuals demonstrate exceptional similarity to the modern thecamoebian families Centropyxidae, Arcellidae, Hyalospheniidae and Trigonopyxidae, however, the vast majority belong to the Centropyxidae. This study further confirms the morphologic stability of the thecamoebian lineages through the Phanerozoic, and most importantly, their apparent little response to an infamous biological crisis in Earth's history.